You know that funny YouTube video you watched last week? It could've been used by hackers to gain access to your computer. Companies like HackingTeam and FinFisher are selling hacking tools to the highest bidder that let them use unencrypted websites to take over your stuff.
In order to do this, they inject malicious content into people’s everyday Internet browsing traffic. One way that Hacking Team accomplishes this is by taking advantage of unencrypted YouTube video streams to compromise users. The Hacking Team device targets a user, waits for that user to watch a YouTube clip like the one above, and intercepts that traffic and replaces it with malicious code that gives the operator total control over the target’s computer without his or her knowledge.
Researcher Morgan Marquis-Boire from Citizen Lab at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs found that the hack can also affect Microsoft's login.live.com. Both Google and Microsoft have worked to fix the security flaw after they found out about it.
But, that doesn't mean you're safe. These hacking tools can take advantage of any content on the Internet that's not encrypted.
The scary thing is the tool only costs about $1 million. That's a lot of money to you and me, but it's actually cheap for governments that want to get their hands on this technology. It's already been used against protesters and journalists in Bahrain, Morocco, United Arab Emirates and Ethiopia. FinFisher also sold the tool to "at least one private security company."
To protect your computers and gadgets, make sure you're visiting secure websites. Click here to find out if the sites you visit are encrypted.